Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868
Source: MECW, Volume 42, p. 543;
First published: in Die Neue Zeit Stuttgart, 1901-1902.
As soon as Coppel vanished, my condition got worse again. Scarcely, I think, because of his departure. Post not propter. (After all he is, in his way, quite a nice man. But that particular way is, in my present state, too healthy for me to harmonise with it very well.) This is therefore the reason for my silence, so that I did not even inform you of the receipt of Thünen. There is something touching about the latter. A Mecklenburg squire (moreover, one with German distinction of thought), who treats his estate of Tellow as the land and Mecklenburg-Schwerin as the town, and who, proceeding from these premises, constructs for himself the Ricardian theory of ground rent, with the help of observation, differential calculus, practical accountancy, etc. This is estimable and at the same time ridiculous.
The curiously embarrassed tone used by Mr Duhring in his review [of Capital] is now clear to me. Usually, you see, he is a very bumptious, insolent lad, who sets himself up as a revolutionary in political economy. He has done two things. Firstly (basing himself upon Carey) he published a Kritische Grundlegung der Nationalökonomie (about 500 pages), and a new Natürliche Dialektik (against Hegelian dialectic). My book has buried him in both respects. He reviewed it out of hatred for Roscher, etc. Incidentally he practises deception, half intentionally and half from lack of insight. He knows full well that my method of exposition is not Hegelian, since I am a materialist, and Hegel an idealist. Hegel’s dialectic is the basic form of all dialectic, but only after being stripped of its mystical form, and it is precisely this which distinguishes my method. Quant à Ricardo, Mr Duhring has been vexed precisely because in my treatment the weak points do not exist which Carey, and 100 others before him, held up as proof against Ricardo. Consequently, he attempts, with mauvaise foi, [bad faith] to burden me with Ricardo’s narrow-mindedness. But never mind. I must be grateful to the man, since he is the first expert who has said anything at all.
In volume II (which will probably never appear if my condition does not change) property in land will be one of the subjects analysed, competition only in so far as called for in the treatment of other themes.
During my indisposition (which I hope will soon cease altogether) I have not been able to write, but have gobbled up enormous masses of ‘material’, statistical and otherwise; this alone would have made sick those whose stomachs are not accustomed to this type of fodder and the rapid digestion of the same.
My circumstances are very harassing, since I was unable to do any additional work which would bring in money, but must always maintain a certain appearance for the children’s sake. If I didn’t have to produce these 2 damned volumes (and look for an English publisher besides), which can be done only in London, I would move to Geneva where I could live very well with the means at my disposal. My daughter No. II [Laura] is getting married at the end of this month.
Greetings to Fränzchen.